Frequently Asked Questions

How to Report a Missing Hiker

Search and Rescue Call out

You’ve written a hiking trip plan and left it with a responsible adult. But you’re overdue and possibly incapacitated. Who should they call to activate a search and rescue effort to come looking for you? The answer might not be as obvious as you think. In the United States, the …

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What is the Difference between Frontcountry Camping, Backcountry or Designated Campsites, and Dispersed Camping?

Map of a frontcountry campground with running water, bathrooms, parking, and a caretaker

The camping “landscape” is often divided into frontcountry campsites, backcountry campsites, designated campsites, and dispersed camping. You’re likely to encounter these terms if you camp or backpack in National Parks, National Forests, and State Parks and it’s important to understand what they mean. Frontcountry Campsites Frontcountry campsites are located in …

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Guide to Hammock Styles and Designs

Tentsile Stingray

Single. Double. Triple. Bridge. Gathered end. Spreader bar. With all the different styles and designs of hammocks available, choosing the right one can be confusing, particularly if you’re intending that hammock for a specific purpose, such as a thru-hike on the AT. I’ve tested and seen just about every type …

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How to Tip a Mountain Guide

Mountain guiding is a service industry, and a mountain guide is really no different from your taxi driver, your waitress, your hairstylist, or any other person or company catering to your wants and needs in the provision of a particular service. In the case of the mountain guide, their service …

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Will My Sleeping Bag Be Warm Enough?

Historical Temperature Tool on Weather Underground

I get a lot of questions from SectionHiker readers asking whether their sleeping bags will be warm enough for their backpacking and camping trips. For example: “I’m starting an Appalachian Trail thru-hike in February at Springer Mountain. Will a 20 degree bag be warm enough?” “My son has to go …

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